For argument purposes, let's say that Sir Zygmunt Wilf provided Leslie Frazier with the verbal assurance that he would not be fired, no matter what, if Christian Ponder continued the entire season, to evaluate him, to determine if he is in fact an elite NFL quarterback. The counter to this statement, if Frazier publically pulls the strings and benches Ponder & replaces him with Joe Webb, then he in fact has openly put his head on the chopping block if the new experiment with Webb at the helm doesn't work out. Sounds backward ... but maybe not so much.
Let's look at the above statements, standing in Sir Zygmunt's shoes. It is now absolutely clear that with Christian Ponder at the helm, there is no way that we are winning the last four (4) games of the 2012 season. Now let consider Sir Zygmunt's prime #1 decision, which is in regard to the future of Christian Ponder, knowing that Ziggy's very competent surrogates have laid an effective smoke screen for him. Here are the options to consider:
Future #1: Sir Zygmunt has already made his decision in regard to Ponder where he will not be with the Vikings franchise next year based upon the solidity, or lack thereof, of his twenty-two (22) NFL starts. Ponder & his agent will then be allowed to seek out his southern destination (Not Houston ... Not Dallas) to work with a well established NFL coach with a clean slate, running from his, "It wasn't my fault" label. From there, it's make or break for Ponder.
Future #2: This franchise leaves Ponder as their starting quarterback, investing in Ponder as our starter for a 3rd year as Rick Spielman espoused, regardless of whether there is a pay off or not. The old cliché, "In for a penny in for a pound", has no long term lingering effects. In short, people will buy season tickets & NFL ticket regardless of how painful it is to watch. Remember that if you have the NFL ticket that you can see the best seats in the house be sold to the traveling teams fans like the Cowboys or Steelers ... while the horns get destroyed on the field. There's no danger in being set back another decade. Are those 1961 Vikings cheerleaders still alive?
Future #3: Ponder accepts being a back up for the Vikings. The details of his contract makes this option a virtual impossibility.
Future #4: In the next four (4) games, Ponder runs the table and makes the playoffs thereby establishing himself as an NFL elite quarterback. Ponder ... I'm ready to eat my words but that just ain't goin' to happen ... is it? Dallas Texas, the city of Ponder's birth, then gets to brag that Ponder's questionable college stats and questionable quarterback pedigree beat the odds ... where everything great comes from Dallas Texas. Yeah, if you were to tell me that my Viking starting quarterback was a product of Dallas Texas, not a place like somewhere in Pennsylvania ... sure, I'd say sign me up because I love every aspect of Dallas Texas. Don't you just love them Cowboys.
Now, if you're still awake, and you've paid attention, and you watched everything that has transpired on that field the last two (2) years ... which of the above futures make the most sense? Which future is the most compelling?
If you selected Future #1, then it would be quite easy to fire the brilliant one ... Leslie Frazier ... because all the blame for this insanity can easily be lumped upon this genuine man due to plausible deniability. Spielman gets to cut his losses because he's known for his personnel prowess where the head coach decision was not solely his alone to make. Mark is just the channel of command and key buffer for his brother. Due to the surrogate chain of command there is nothing that ties Leslie Frazier to Sir Zygmunt where he gets to smile and claim that these were not his decisions which were based upon the flawed input of these same surrogates. It all rests at the feet of Leslie Frazier.
The truth of the matter is that Sir Zygmunt's surrogates failed him miserably in regard misinformation in regard to Christian Ponder and someone has got to pay. The way that this whole thing is set up, Sir Zygmunt's perfect scapegoat is Leslie Frazier.
Now, the ticking time bomb sits directly in Leslie Frazier's hands where with a few simple words, he sets off an explosion that will lead to this franchises first Super Bowl title.
You see, Frazier hasn't been told that Sir Zygmunt has already made his decision in regard to both himself & Christian Ponder, because he wants Christian to complete the season without fail. This begs the question, what is it about Joe Webb, that is so heinously wrong, that under no circumstances, can Webb be allowed to walk onto that field in 2012. This goes well beyond embarrassing Christian Ponder and hurting his ego ... which is a ridiculous statement. In the NFL, no one gives a damn if a players ego gets bruised ... "Suck it up!" In other words, the decision on Joe Webb has also been made and it has nothing to do with his ability to lead this team to its first Super Bowl victory. What could it be that would prevent an owner to reject a Super Bowl trophy, to reject the threat that is Joe Webb, and what does that have to do with waiting it out for the remainder of this year with Ponder, to get to next years draft?
If Leslie Frazier thinks that he's not the scapegoat in all this mess then there is only one statement that applies ... DO THE MATH.
In the NFL, there are no guarantees but Leslie Frazier shall be granted this guarantee. You pull Ponder in the Chicago game, before he gives it away, and Joe Webb, and that broken offense will sweep the next four (4) games. Keep in mind the 5-2 defense, Super Charging AD, to continually run it at J. J. Watt, and roll with Joe Webb. This 10 win season will get you into the post season, not because there are other teams can't get there ... it's because the imagination of the NFL will be entrained within Adrian Peterson and the Phenomenon Joe Webb, which will put the likes of RG3 on the back burner.
There is a time in every mans life that he can point to as being pivotal. To put Leslie Frazier's brilliance into perspective, he has had numerous pivot points. Now is the most important decision of his life.
Metaphorically, Leslie Frazier will need to stick his neck out by openly taking control of this teams decisions based upon what is best for his players, which apparently is completely counter to the wishes directed by this organization. Realistically, it is not a risk if your head is already secured in the blocks of the guillotine. What Leslie needs to know is that his players will stand behind him 100%, in him making these very public decisions. Sir Zygmunt will not be able to over-rule these decisions, if the Viking team wins without completely exposing himself & his true intensions to the media. Now, the shoe will be on the other foot where Ziggy's hands will be tied.
There aren't many times in history where a man is given a chisel ... to lay into granite ... to write his destiny. What's odd about it all is that all he needs to do is be his genuine self, chucking the enormous weight of politics that has been saddled upon his back.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 6, 2012